Responding to hate: how public universities react to alt-right speakers
Links to Fileshttp://library.towson.edu/digital/collection/etd/id/66591
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Workapplication/pdf
vi, 126 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
This study examined how public universities who have hosted alt-right speakers on campus protected their reputations while also fostering a free speech environment and keeping students safe. Due to the First Amendment policies of public universities, they have a greater obligation to provide alt-right speakers a platform. However, alt-right speaking events pose risks among the university community such as violence and vandalism. These risks could potentially damage the reputation of the university. Through utilizing Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) and gathering primary documents from the universities, this study showcases the effectiveness of university strategies in regards to balancing a first amendment while maintaining student safety. The results showed university strategies that were in-line with SCCT were more effective at maintaining their reputations and keeping students safe. Hosting events dedicated to university values and engaging in the community protected their reputations leading up to and during the alt-right speaking events. The findings demonstrate an emphasis on community engagement and maintaining a competent security presence in order to keep the community safe while maintaining a free speech environment.